Western Courier

Western volleyball loses second conference game

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Western volleyball loses second conference game

ariel ramirez/ courier staff 
Cassie Hunt sets up a Leatherneck point at the BWW Invitational.

ariel ramirez/ courier staff Cassie Hunt sets up a Leatherneck point at the BWW Invitational.

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier staff

ariel ramirez/ courier staff Cassie Hunt sets up a Leatherneck point at the BWW Invitational.

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier staff

Ariel Ramirez/ Courier staff

ariel ramirez/ courier staff Cassie Hunt sets up a Leatherneck point at the BWW Invitational.

Becca Langys, Courier Staff

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TULSA Okla. – The Western Illinois University volleyball team (5-11) continues to struggle with turning around their negative record, taking another hard loss against the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles (5-9) this past Sunday, losing 1-3.

The Leathernecks traveled to Tulsa, to face off against the Golden Eagles, making it their ninth road game, and their eleventh loss of the season.

During set one, the Leathernecks came out strong against the Golden Eagles. The score was neck-and-neck for about half the set, until eventually Western pulled away with a comfortable five-point lead. Not a comfortable enough lead, however, because when the score was 17-12, the Leathernecks gave up five consecutive points, resulting from the combination of tough hits from ORU and defensive errors on the Leatherneck side that caused the Golden Eagles to be back within winning distance of the Leathernecks. Oral Roberts tied up the game at 20-20, and then pushed ahead of the Leathernecks to secure the first win of the match, final score of 23-25, match score 0-1.

Set two came with a new burst of momentum coming from the Leatherneck side, causing Western to have a 4-1 lead over the Golden Eagles. This momentum was quickly shot down, however, when Oral Roberts went on a six-point rally that gave them a two-point lead over Western. The Leathernecks struggled to pick their momentum back up after struggling with the ORU rally, and they remained close behind the Eagles for the next few points of the set, never being able to push past the threshold of taking the lead again.

When the score was 9-12, Oral Roberts went on yet another long rally that put them eight points ahead of the Leathernecks.

When all hope was thought lost, the Leathernecks had an unexpected burst of momentum, going on a rally of seven points that gave them another chance at winning the game. When the score was 19-20, the Golden Eagles went on a two-point rally that killed the final spouts of momentum coming from the Leatherneck side. Oral Roberts took the second game in a close 22-25 finish, the match score now being 0-2.

In the third set of this match, Western Illinois came out with a fighting spirit that was unmatched by the Golden Eagles. The game began with standard gameplay, both teams remaining within one to two points of each other. This quickly took a turn for the better, however, when the Leathernecks went on a six-point run, giving them a large lead over ORU unusually early in the set. The lead was sparked by a Golden Eagle service error, and it was upheld with strong offense coming from the Leatherneck side of the net.

Western continued to push and maintained their lead for the remainder of the set. When the score was 19-15, the Golden Eagles went on a three-point rally that put them back in the competition, but the Leathernecks did not give up the fight. They pushed through the last points of the game and came out victorious over ORU with a 25-19 win, and a new match score of 1-2.

The fourth and final set of this match brought chaos and panic to the Leatherneck’s because they allowed the Golden Eagles to go on a five-point run in the very first points of the game. It is a difficult feat for any team to recover from a lead like this so early on in a game, yet the Leathernecks fought on, going on a three-point run in attempt to stay within winning distance of their competitors. Western’s fight did not prove to be effective enough, however, because in response to the Leatherneck rally, Oral Roberts went on yet another long run that put them further in the lead. Leatherneck defense struggled during this last set which only helped the Golden Eagles to push ahead.

“We need to continue cleaning up our unforced errors so that we can keep the momentum on our side,” said head coach Kelly Richardson. Western lost the final game of the match by a total of 15 points, being completely dominated by Oral Roberts. The score of this game was 10-25, and the final match score was 1-3.

Western did not show an aggressive presence on the court whilst playing the Golden Eagles, allowing Oral Roberts to take the victory in just four games.

The Leathernecks were led offensively by freshman outside-hitter Emma Norris, who earned a total of fifteen kills for the Leathernecks. Red shirt freshman middle hitter Mackenzie Steckler and junior right-side Emilee Dechat dominated at the net, each earning seven blocks individually. Leading the team defensively, senior outside-hitter Shalyn Greenhaw raked up a total of twenty-one digs for the Leathernecks. Junior setter Jaime Johnsen led the team with assists earning a total of twenty-one, closely followed by freshman setter Cassie Hunt who had seventeen assists.

The Westernvolleyball team will play the University of Nebraska Omaha today at 7 p.m. in Omaha, Neb.

Twitter: @beccalangysxo

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Western volleyball loses second conference game